Antique silver enamelled hirz (amulet) from Ida ou Semlal, Morocco
A very old silver hirz with ochre yellow, blue and green enamel, complete with a piece of raised red translucent glass. It is believed that the raised points give extra protection from harm. This hirz would originally have had coin or pendant dangles. It has some wear commensurate with age.
Silver, enamel & glass
4.5 cm (h) x 6.5 cm (w) x 1.5 cm (d)
Grammet, I. and Meersman, M. (1998). Splendeurs du Maroc. Tervuren (Belgique): Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, pp. 262-263.
Borel, F. (1994). The Splendour of Ethnic Jewelry. London: Thames and Hudson, p 44.
An amulet (hirz in Arabic) is an object worn by a person as a form of protection. It is believed to ward off all danger and protect the person from all harm. Often it will be combined with beads or worn on a chain as a piece of jewellery. Some amulets contain verses from the Qur'an as perceived added protection. The amulets in our collection include Tuareg tcherot, Yemeni prayer boxes, boghdad and Tuareg crosses.